Decolonizing the teaching of world history

Atlantic Revolutions

The Atlantic Revolutions play a central role in most modern world history courses. The main challenge for many world history teachers is how to get beyond a focus on the North American and French Revolutions and focus more on the Haitian and Latin American Revolutions. Another important consideration is how we frame the revolutions. Are they Atlantic Revolutions or something broader? Do we focus on the importance of Enlightenment ideas, or do we focus more on the role of peoples of Africa, women, and indigenous peoples? In January 2019, Eric Beckman and I moderated a Twitter discussion on #whapchat about the revolutions which is a good starting point for this topic. You can read about that discussion on Revolutionary Revolutions: Rethinking how we teach the political revolutions between 1750 and 1900.

As with all resource pages, I will occasionally update this page with new resources. Please email me new resources you think would be useful to include.

Last updated: 11 February 2019

Articles and Websites

Laurent Dubois’ “Atlantic Freedoms” – Looks at what made the Haitian Revolution unique and why it could be considered the most radical of the Atlantic Revolutions. This is really the best starting point for rethinking how we teach the Atlantic Revolutions.

Rocky Cotard and Laurnet Dubois’ “The Slave Revolution That Gave Birth to Haiti” – a brief graphic history of the Haitian Revolution.

Haiti and the Atlantic World: Sources and Resources for Discussions about Haiti and Haitian History – an incredible collection from Julia Gaffield of teaching resources and primary sources related to the Haitian Revolution

Bram Hubbell’s “A Revolutionary Challenge: The Túpac Amaru Rebellion and Rethinking the Atlantic Revolutions” – A post published on this website that focuses on the Túpac Amaru Rebellion and the role of indigenous peoples.

Bryan Banks’ “The Power of ‘S’: Diversity and Inclusion in the Age of Revolutions Classroom” – Banks discusses the different pedagogical and thematic questions that shape his course on the Atlantic Revolutions.

Lynn Hunt and Jack R. Censer’s “Think Globally, Act Historically: Teaching the French Revolution and Napoleon” – Hunt and Censer provide a short overview of how to approach the French Revolution from a global perspective.

Kate Fullagar and Michael A. McDonnell’s “Facing Empire: Indigenous Experiences In a Revolutionary Age” – Good overview of the role of indigenous peoples in the Age of Revolutions.

Jason Herbert’s “Native American Revolutions Bibliography”

Julia Gaffield’s “Meet Haiti’s founding father, whose black revolution was too radical for Thomas Jefferson” – short overview of Jean-Jacques Dessalines.

Primary Sources

Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804: A Brief History with Documents – great collection of resources related to the Haitian Revolution.

Books

John Charles Chasteen’s Americanos: Latin America’s Struggle for Independence – accessible overview of the Latin American Revolutions

Revolution! The Atlantic World Reborn – good overview with lots of image. Edited by Thomas Bender and Laurent Dubois.

Julius S. Scott’s The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution – an incredible discussion of the role of peoples of African heritage in the Age of Revolutions.

David Allison’s The American Revolution: A World War – a global perspective on the American Revolution.

Wim Klooster’s Revolutions in the Atlantic World: A Comparative History – good comparative history of all the Atlantic Revolutions

Laurent Dubois’ Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution – one of the best histories of the Haitian Revolution.

Julia Gaffield’s Haitian Connections in the Atlantic World: Recognition after Revolution – Explores newly independent Haiti’s relations with other states.

Podcasts

On Top of the World’s “It’s Just Me Against the World” – Dave and Matt talk about the Tupac Amaru Rebellion in Peru and how it challenges our ideas about the Atlantic Revolutions.

Videos and Documentaries

Julia Gaffield’s Teaching the Haitian Revolution in the Survey – a short video overview.

Subscribe to Liberating Narratives

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson
Subscribe